Unrestrained Juvenile Killed, Two Others Injured In St. James Parish Crash

Published 9:26 am Wednesday, July 20, 2022

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St. James – On July 19, 2022, shortly after 8:00 p.m., Louisiana State Police Troop C was notified of a single-vehicle severe injury crash on Louisiana Highway 18 near Locap Road. The crash ultimately claimed the life of 15-year-old Ramiya Sowell of St. James. 

The preliminary investigation revealed a 2005 Honda Accord driven by a 17-year-old juvenile was traveling north on LA Hwy 18.  For reasons still under investigation, the Honda traveled off the roadway to the right while in a curve. The driver attempted to regain control by steering to the left but overcorrected causing the Honda to travel across the roadway before striking a ditch and overturning.

The driver of the Honda and their two juvenile passengers were all unrestrained at the time of the crash and ejected from the vehicle. Sowell suffered serious injuries and was transported to a Baton Rouge area hospital where she later died. The driver and remaining passenger were transported with moderate injuries. 

A standard toxicology sample was collected from the driver and submitted for analysis.  This crash remains under investigation. 

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s data shows motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for teenagers 14-18 years old in the United States. Teens are more likely to drive distracted whether by the phone or by other passengers, more likely to speed, more likely not to wear a seatbelt, and more likely to take risks behind the wheel. Many of these fatal crashes involving teenagers could have been prevented. Speak to your young drivers about the consequences of not making good choices when driving or riding in a vehicle. The conversations you have today could make a world of difference tomorrow.